Conversations with strangers: Are shoes worth fighting for?

Had any interesting conversations with strangers lately?

Here’s a couple from me, one recent and one that came back to me with the help of some notebook scribbles in a forgotten notebook (I have lots of these forgotten notebooks, and probably should go through them all properly to inspire some more blog posts – ‘extracts from forgotten notebooks’ย  a new series perhaps…..anyway I digress).

Brunch Before the Flight

Once upon a time, before lockdown’s and pandemics, I found myself sat very close to two pensioner ladies in a departures airport restaurant. They were off to the Maldives for the second time and said they didn’t think they’d be able to afford it a second time but they’d managed it and were very excited and highly recommend it. Bless ’em.

They went on to tell me how they were dreading the long mix of planes and boats to get to there, but it would all be worth it.

We got talking when they looked over at the food I’d ordered and decided to order the same thing – the simplest things can start the most unexpected conversations with strangers!!

……and then……a crowd of swedish ice hockey fans/match-goers entered and literally took over the restaurant, more than twenty of them, all chattering loudly about ice hockey. One of the waiters then announced, ” I watch ice hockey because I’m Czechoslovakian” implying a logical connection between the two things, a connection I’d been unaware of up until this point ๐Ÿค”

ASBOs in Charity Shops?

I was talking to two charity shop workers recently, they work in a store where all the items are sold for ยฃ1 – which I was amazed to hear, and was saying surely they could charge a bit more than that, but they said it was a dedicated ยฃ1 outlet for all the items their sister stores had struggled to shift so they were not allowed to increase the prices….anyway they told me I wouldn’t believe the half of what goes on in this shop.

I was all ears…

Assistant 1 ” people are usually queuing up outside the shop whenย we get there to open up”

Assistant 2 “Yeah, sometimes I dread going in”

Assistant 1 “we have a lot of fights in the shop, the other day we had two women having a physical fight over a pair of shoes, they each had one shoe in their hand and neither of ’em were willing to give in”ย 

Well, if someone is willing to roll up their sleeves for a punch up over a pair of ยฃ1 shoes, I say give it to them, they’re clearly willing to risk life, limb and jail time for them. Wow.

I’m not sure which is worse, fights over ยฃ1 shoes or fights over toilet roll a year ago!!!

On the charity shop theme – I recently witnessed a man getting really angry and loud in a charity shop because he thought a shirt was too expensive – he said the shirt was still available in a high street shop (brand new) for not much more than the charity shop was charging and he was outraged:

“You’re meant to sell things cheap, do you think poor people have got money to throw around? This should be a pound”

In the end the manager came up to him and confirmed the price was not going to change. Livid, the man then pushed over a couple of displays in the shop and walked out.

Calmly and with a smile, “I’m used to this type of behaviour” the manager reassured everyone in the shop.

I’ve heard that some charity shops have very little discretion over prices and are guided by a pricing structure that comes from Head Office for that particular chain, and Head office sometimes call into branches to check the prices are in line, amongst other things, like the way items are displayed….they also have sales targets, so higher prices are helpful if they’re getting people coming in who are willing to pay them.

Anyway, here’s wishing you interesting and amusing future conversations with strangers ๐Ÿค—

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